Dear Joan: I have feral cats!
Mama cat had two babies and she looks pregnant again. I would like to trap all three and daddy cat, if he comes around again. I haven't seen him lately.
Should I feed them? Or should I only feed the neutered ones? My concern is, will this attract more feral cats?
My family thinks I'm asking for trouble.
Dear Mary: You are asking for trouble, but you've already got it with a pregnant Mama Cat and her kittens. You don't need to worry about attracting feral cats – they are reproducing in your yard.
Please do capture the cats and have them neutered. There are several groups that can help you with the neuter and spay. You trap and they do the surgery and then return them from whence they came.
Keeping the cats and kittens from reproducing will help ease your burden greatly.
If you continue feeding them, you might attract more ferals. You probably will. If you can manage to feed the ones you've got in a private, protected place, and then pick up the food dishes as soon as they are done, that will reduce the risk of attracting more cats and wildlife to your yard.
It would be even better if the cats could be tamed and become your pets. Not an easy task, but it would solve some of your problems, and would be a great kindness to the cats.
Dear Joan: Would you know what the heck type of bird is making very unusual sounds at 2 in the morning? This is right outside my bedroom window and there are so many different tunes and calls that I feel as if I am in an exotic jungle.
It's funny because the bird changes its patterns over and over; very meditating, I might add.
– Gina L.
Dear Gina: I suspect you have a lonely male Northern mockingbird outside your window. Other than an owl or a night hawk, that's about the only bird that would be up that early and the only one that would be so conspicuous.
As mating season is drawing to a close, this fellow is still looking for a mate or is a juvenile that is late to the party. Male mockingbirds sing their hearts out hoping to win the affection of a female, who chooses her partner based on the quality and quantity of the songs. The more tunes the mockingbird can work into his serenade, the better. For him. Not a lot of people like to listen to the mockingbird, especially at 2 a.m., so I'm happy to hear you find it meditative.
Mating season for mockingbirds is early spring and summer, so your middle-of-the-night performer will likely pack up his show fairly soon. In the meantime, enjoy.